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OMTP says IMS falls short

The Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) community issued a document on Tuesday detailing the steps it thinks are required to make IMS, variously known as the IP Multimedia Subsytem and Immense Menacing Squid, work better.

According to the OMTP, “In its current form the IMS proposition fails to sufficiently address [these] four key areas and falls short of the full end-to-end experience that is required.”

The OMTP, which is an operator sponsored forum focused on the development of mobile terminals, said its requirements detail the steps needed to address these fundamental issues.

OMTP chief executive, Tim Raby, said that, “Despite the issues around its deployment, IMS delivers a host of potential benefits for operators, not least the ability to improve quality of service for end users. For this to become a reality however there is a certain amount of ‘knitting’ needed to join up various elements. Our requirements give clear guidance to ensure IMS has the opportunity to deliver on its promises.”

There serious question here hinges on the fact that as IMS is meant to be a standard, it needs to be…standard. The OMTP may well have a point, but if the IMS standard keeps growing, with more and more options that may or may not be mutually compatible, its very standardness becomes questionable. It has already, for example, spawned a new SIP non-standard, as well as a whole new non-standard version of itself in A-IMS (Advances in IMS).

The OMTP’s document is packed with reasonable proposals, such as the importance of open APIs for both network services and device software. It suggests that as a rule, application developers should be allowed to call network functions directly through the core API rather than going via the prebaked ‘standard services’ layer.

But it is quite alarming that, with IMS deployments already in the wild, the telecoms industry is now issuing standards documents suggesting that applications should release resources when they exit, for example.

Coincidentally, the SDP Alliance (Service Delivery Platform Alliance) is having a big shindig to promote its wares this week, after asking Nokia Siemens Networks to be its preferred global systems integrator.

The SDP Alliance is a collaboration of telecommunication software product companies established in 2006.

Fascinatingly, here’s a description of a related technology taken from a recent Nokia Siemens press release:

“[The product name] allows network carriers to offer their products and services to even small market segments and respond quickly to market trends without making their infrastructures significantly more complex. In addition, it avoids the high investment costs that would be associated with the introduction of each new service.

“The [product name] from Nokia Siemens Networks has special advantages: Through specific bridging functions, it supports the seamless connection of the entire telecommunication world (mobile and fixed networks) with the information technology world, thereby offering network operators an abundance of new possibilities and flexibility in their networks. This allows the establishment of innovative business models for applications and related billing systems, such as TV and music services or site-based services such as navigation systems.

“An additional benefit: Nokia Siemens Networks is the central interface for the network carrier to software providers and, in particular, to a network of independent application developers.”

Can you guess what it is yet? It’s an SDP, not an IMS. But you could hardly tell from that, could you?

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